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iTunes for Business

post #1 of 2
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Hey everyone. I don't usually check on the iTunes/iPod forums so this may be old news to y'all, but a discussion regarding iTunes on airlines prompted me to think of a new market for Apple in iTunes and a new business model for Apple in "subscription" music services. Forgive my cut and paste laziness, but I have to get back to work!

I would like to see Apple create a new market segment with corporate iTunes accounts or corporate iMixes. This may be how iTunes enters the business world and the realm of "subscriptions."

Think of this, if United or Starbucks or Sears wanted to have music services in their locations, they have deals with record labels or third parties to supply feeds or playlists to them. What if there were a corporate iTunes site and any company could pay with a usage fee to have their own customized iMixes sent to them as downloads or streams to coporate servers ... maybe via OSX Server! This actually has at least two possible implementations: on-demand streaming and traditional download-and-own.

1. Traditional iTunes: I don't know what the actual price structures are for this service now, but if they use the normal download-and-own model Apple would get their $1/song and the business would own the song and that might be fine. This is how music in my local coffee shop works. The coffee shop manager has a mac, he downloads it, owns the music and it is small enough and hands-on enough business to be able to support the little Mac that runs the system. However this becomes a big hassle with 10,000 Starbucks stores who may require more central control, but who may also want regional flexibility as to song lists and customer preferences.

enter...

2. Corporate iMixes: Starbucks decides it could use a different playlist of 10,000 songs in each of its two dozen or so market regions. It contracts to Apple to either design the playlist or get's its marketing depts to do so ... even to the level of store managers ... and then gives this list to Apple and Apple sets up via the internet a "feed" to the stores. This feed can be easily updated and edited and in a way acts like a Napster subscription. Apple can do this because it would not impact its consumer iTunes model and it gives business flexibility. One Starbucks goes out of business (I guess this must have happened once) and Starbucks just moves the account to another one or discontinues the account. In this circumstance the subscription model is better than the ownership model.

The corporate account could give airlines, shopping malls and other public places a flexible, efficient way of providing music to large numbers of people in an intriguing way and has added benefits:

1. Increases iTunes beyond the iPod because this service is basically not directed to "portability" except on the macro-scale. DRM would of course need modifications.
2. Increases Apple's revenues and abilities to further increase its servers and its bandwidth needs as it gears up for more video.
3. Allows Apple to play around with the "subscription" model in a way that doesn't disrupt its current iTunes model.
4. Marketing: Perhaps allows consumers the ability to hear music they like while in a public place and know that they could get to the iTMS and download the song that they heard at the coffee shop.
5. Apple could even sell audio systems that either store AAC files or acts as a "set box" for the "on-demand" streaming of a company's iTunes accounts.

I'm sure you all could come up with tons of ideas for this model and it would get iTunes and Apple even farther into the corporate realm ... yes, IT you need to support Apple!
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The Mother of all flip-flops!!
Support our troops by educating yourself and being a responsible voter. Democracy and Capitalism REQUIRE Intelligence and Wisdom if they are to be worth a damn beyond...
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post #2 of 2
So basically, iMuzak?

Interesting. I know Starbuck's already sells CDs that they play in store, and those are chosen by HQ...

Hmm, interesting idea, that. iTunes offers muzak over the net to the stores, and shoppers can say "Oh I like this one..." go to a kiosk, and purchase directly to an iPod?
My brain is hung like a HORSE!
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My brain is hung like a HORSE!
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